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Your Ultimate Guide
to Entertaining

Planning a party can be just as much fun as
attending one. Find fast, foolproof, and
surprising ideas for hosting at home.

Party Ideas, Décor, and More

Superheroes food

5 Hollywood–Inspired Party Themes
Whether you're hosting an Oscar bash or simply looking for a unique party theme, these fun and festive ideas are perfect for celebrating just about anything, anytime. 

Lollipop bouquet as centerpiece

Fresh Ways to Dress Up a Table
Sixteen ideas that add unexpected fun and color.

Monogrammed yellow napkin

4 Decorative Napkin Folding Ideas
You don't have to be an origami master to make a linen napkin feel extra special.

Easy Apps and Recipe Ideas

Goat Cheese With Pistachios and Cranberries

6 Make-Ahead Appetizers
Easy finger foods to keep your guests satisfied—not to mention occupied—before the main event.

10 Best Store-Bought Party Appetizers
Are your guests feeling peckish? Silence the squawking with these store-bought snacks—Real Simple’s favorites from more than 150 sampled.

Favorite Appetizer Recipes
Tried-and-true party recipes.

Signature Drinks and Party Punches

Rosemary, Grape, and Gin Cocktails

10 Tasty Holiday Cocktails
Playing bartender has never been easier. You can whip up a batch of these spirited drinks in two shakes.

Best Punch Recipes
Hosting a big party? These cheerful drink recipes all serve 10 or more—no bartender required.

9 Hot Drinks for Winter
Cozy up with these delicious cold-weather beverages.

Entertaining Checklists

White wine bottle

Dinner Party Checklist
This step-by-step plan will ensure that you, too, will be able to sit down at your next dinner party.

Day-Before Dinner Preparation Checklist
Prep these ingredients up to a day in advance to avoid the pre-dinner rush.

Party Planning Checklist

Entertaining Videos

How To Make A Martini Step 6

How To: Make a Martini
The martini is perhaps the classic cocktail―and making one is probably simpler than you think. Just follow the quick steps in this video.

How To: Fan-Fold a Cloth Napkin
Give even the easiest dinner party a touch of elegance with beautifully folded napkins. Find the simple steps―and a video to guide you.

How To: Make a Cosmopolitan
Every good hostess should master one great cocktail recipe, and tasty cosmopolitans are always impressive crowd-pleasers. Follow the quick technique shown in this video and your guests will be raising a glass to you in no time.

Entertaining Tools


How to Stock a Party-Worthy Cocktail Bar
Entertaining expert A.J. Rathbun picks the liquors and mixers to splurge (or save) on.

Party Menu Planner

Wedding Flower Finder
Use this tool to discover which flowers are available during your wedding season.


Hot Topic

Like Negronis? Then You’ll Love This Easy Summer Cocktail

Blog Author

In our house, the cocktail is king. Like many, we started stocking our bar when the cocktail revolution hit a decade ago. Couple that with watching Don Draper and Peggy Olsen imbibe on Mad Men for... more

Posted on June 20, 2014 | 1:00 p.m. By Charlyne Mattox
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